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September 1997, Vol. 120, No. 9
Neal H. Rosenthal
The Bureau of Labor Statistics prepares projections of the labor force, industry employment, and occupational employment every other year. Because of the uncertainty inherent in making these projections, the Bureau evaluates the results of past projections each time a target year is reached, to gauge how well the projections tracked against actual change. The evaluations provide users of BLS projections with information to enhance their understanding of the problems faced in developing accurate projections and to assess the manner of using projections in the future. Among the many users of projections are those in the fields of career guidance, education planning, and public policy formulation. In these fields, numerous decisions are made based on differences in projected labor force growth rates by race, age, sex, and Hispanic origin and on comparisons of growth rates among industries and occupations. State employment security agencies incorporate data from BLS projections into the models they use to develop industry and occupational projections for their State. Business officials in the private sector utilize the projections in personnel planning and marketing research. Academic researchers employ the projections as background information to study a wide variety of topics dealing with the labor market. Knowledge of the accuracy of BLS projections affects whether an individual or agency will rely on the projections in the future and, if so, how the projections will subsequently be used.
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1997 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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